Toscana

THE MAGIC OF TUSCANY

It’s the quintessence of Italy in every detail, every dish and every scenery. The birthplace of Dante and the Italian language, cradle of the Renaissance and home to a hefty portion of the country’s masterpieces – from the Botticelli Venus to ‘cantucci’ & Vin Santo.

Tuscany takes your breath away. The beauty of its landscape has inspired artistry and style ever since Etruscan times, and won it legions of admirers world-wide.

The beautifully sculpted hills of onetime Etruria make up 66.5% of the region, wedged between the Apennine mountains and the sea. Urban areas cover a mere 4% of total surface: population density is below the Italian average and the medieval villages and hamlets seamlessly blend into a pristine natural landscape one French writer memorably described as “the most soul-stirring countryside in existence”.

The scenery – traversed by vineyards and olive groves, golden wheat fields and luxuriant pine forests; dotted with cypress trees, bordered by a stark, rocky coastline and studded with superb DOCGs like Chianti, Vino Nobile, Brunello – has attracted visitors and gourmets from all over the world. Their peaceful invasion has even inspired an imaginary county: Chiantishire.

Italy abounds with fabulous sceneries, yet few have become so firmly inscribed in the collective consciousness as Tuscany’s. 

The world has long been in love with this unique region for its beauty, style and history; for the depth and richness of a culture that reads like Italy’s honor roll in literature, music, science and the arts – from Dante, Giotto and Leonardo to Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Donatello, Petrarca, Boccaccio, Galileo, Machiavelli, Puccini and Margherita Hack, just to name a few.

Above and beyond the usual landmarks and destinations – the Uffizi Gallery, the Tower of Pisa and Brunelleschi’s Dome – the region teems with picturesque nooks and unmissable vistas, not to mention its primacy in the most unexpected fields. Did you know, for instance, that the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was the first State in the world to abolish capital punishment and torture, as early as November 30, 1786? Or that the first wine appellations were established by Florentine Cosimo III de’ Medici in 1716? There’s more: Etruscan women, almost a thousand years before the Christian Era, had the same rights as men and enjoyed identical freedom… 

Tuscany’s enduring mystique extends to its cellar and table. Such wines as Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Vernaccia di San Gimignano and Vin Santo – traditionally paired with ‘cantucci’ – enjoy world-wide renown, and the so-called Super Tuscans have been making waves since Sassicaia hit the market in 1968. As for the region’s cuisine, it is best tasted close to its source and its soil – or delivered straight to your doorstep, thanks to our very own Experience Boxes.

In the Tuscan kitchen, fundamentals and terroir shine through: scrumptious, rustic ingredients from a millenary tradition and pristine terrain. The proverbially unsalted bread highlights the flavors and aromas of Tuscan olive oil and stars in such staples as ‘fettunta’ and ‘crostino’, two local varieties of bruschetta, as well as in ‘ribollita’, ‘pappa al pomodoro’ and black cabbage soup, where leftover bread is employed to great advantage; meat, cured or fresh, is among Italy’s finest (only think of the famed Chianina beef). The quality of game is extraordinary – how could it not be, when you consider that Tuscany’s woodland covers a whopping 1 million and 200,000 hectares, i.e. close to three million acres (c. 44% of the entire region)? Pork delicacies like Lardo di Colonnata have been finessed by generations of ‘norcini’ (butchers specializing in pork). And if you have a yen for pasta, our Tuscan Experience Boxes also include the traditional Fusilli di Pisa.